WEG Ticket Sales Well Below 2006 Aachen Levels

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LEXINGTON, Kentucky, Aug. 30–When dressage competition starts at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park in exactly four weeks, WEG organizers are hoping for a surge in ticket sales for what could be the greatest event in the history of the sport.

A sell-out is unlikely, though, as the latest figures from the WEG organizers show that tickets are still available for all dressage competitions, including the individual final, the night time Musical Freestyle.

The USA’s Steffen Peters and Ravel will make their first challenge of the top three in the world–the Netherlands’ Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas and Adelinde Cornelissen and Jerich Parzival and Great Britain’s Laura Bechtolsheimer and Mistral Hojris. The 2009 European Championships are widely regarded as the best competition so far in which the three top ranked Europeans were stars, but it obviously did not include Steffen and Ravel, that year’s World Cup and Aachen CDIO champions.

Sales of tickets are reported by WEG to be nearing a total of 315,000 for all seven disciplines of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting plus para-equestrian from Sept. 25 to Oct. 10. Kentucky, California, Ohio, Texas and Florida are the five top ticket-buying states while outside the U.S., the top nations are Canada, Australia, Switzerland, England, Mexico, South Africa, Germany, New Zealand, France and the Netherlands.

The total so far is slightly over half the 600,000 that WEG and Alltech have said is their goal for the first world championships held every four years and the first time outside Europe since their creation in 1990.

By this stage of the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Germany, well over 400,000 tickets had been sold of a total that eventually reached 576,000.

The latest totals for Kentucky came after a 30 per cent cut in many ticket prices until next Monday that at full price are about twice what they were in Aachen for day-long competitions. The first two days of the dressage team event are broken into two separate sessions with tickets required for each session. Four years ago, a single ticket was for all day.

Dressage Freestyle Price Level A has officially sold out for the final on Friday, Oct. 1, WEG said, but “less than 1,000 tickets remain” in Price Level B.

The Games hospitality program has sold out of Champions Club tables for Jumping. Suites for the entire Reining competition are also sold out.

Temporary seating at several venues has neared completion, many of the more than 300 temporary structures have been built, and the Alltech Experience and Kentucky Experience pavilions are taking form.

Fifty eight nations have submitted entries for the Games with Australia, Canada, Germany and the United States entered for all eight disciplines.

At Aachen, 61 nations competed.

Athletes and horses are scheduled to begin arriving at the Kentucky Horse Park beginning Sept. 10.